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SU-152 Kit

Trumpeter 1/35 SU-152 (Late) Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2012 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject SU-152 (Late) Scale 1/35
Kit Number 5568 Primary Media Styrene, PE
Pros Nice exterior detailing, distinctive subject Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $54.95

First Look

SU-152 Kit
SU-152 Kit
SU-152 Kit
SU-152 Kit
SU-152 Kit

The SU-152 was a Soviet Army self-propelled heavy gun developed during World War Two and continued service into the 1950s. Designed as a versatile mobile heavy gun system, the SU-152 was a follow-on development of the SU-152. Where the SU-152 and SU-152 shared a common main gun, the 152mm ML-20S howitzer, the SU-152 was based upon the KV-1 chassis and the ISU-152 was based upon the IS-2 tank chassis.

You might get confused by the SU-152 versus ISU-152 designations. They are the same vehicle and actually the same designator, but in Cyrillic, the IS (or JS) in the designator is the abbreviation for then Soviet Leader Josef (Iosef) Stalin. The I and J are interchangeable depending into which language the Cyrillic is being transliterated into.

The ML-20S main gun is essentially a six-inch artillery piece that is mounted inside an armored shell to provide indirect fire support to Soviet infantry while protecting its crew. The vehicle could only carry 20 rounds before it needed resupply. Because the vehicle was well-armored, it could drive into the thick of a battle and use its gun in a direct-fire mode, which was great for pushing the assault into Berlin and blasting away the heaviest fortifications.

Although the vehicle wasn't really designed as an anti-tank weapon, the SU-152 was synonymous for 'big honking gun' and in Russian was nicknamed the 'animal killer' because no German tank could survive a direct hit, whether it was a Panther, Tiger, or Elefant.

Trumpeter has released their SU-152 kit in 1/35 scale. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on ten parts trees plus the lower hull and fighting compartment. 12 trees molded in rust color are provided for the individual track links. In addition, one tree of clear parts, two frets of photo-etched parts, and one turned aluminum barrel round out the kit.

So why buy this kit when Tamiya has their SU-152 on the shelf? Several reasons come to mind:

  1. This kit is cheaper
  2. This kit is more detailed
  3. This kit represents the gun system mounted on the KV chassis versus the JSU kit being more-or-less the same gun mounted on the later IS/JS chassis
  4. This kit has an aluminum barrel in the box (I had to go aftermarket to get one for the Tamiya kit)
  5. This kit doesn't have defective rubber band track in the box

Yes, I am still angry/disappointed that the Tamiya kit had defective track (it would easily break when being handled). What I may not of mentioned in my build review is that due to an error on my part, I screwed up the gun mount in my Tamiya kit and had to buy a second one to finish the project. The rubber band tracks in the second kit broke as easily as the first. To Tamiya's credit, they did provide individual track links and an assembly jig which is the only reason that project ended successfully.

When you look at the parts trees, you'll see that this kit has more details than the Tamiya kit. The layout of the parts appear to make it nearly impossible to reverse the gun mount as I did in the Tamiya build. The main difference between this kit and the Tamiya is, of course, that this kit is based upon the KV chassis whilst the Tamiya kit is the later variant built upon the JS-I chassis.

I particularly like the main gun options. This kit has the usual plastic barrel molded in halves, but it also has the main barrel also optionally rended from turned aluminum. What is really impressive is the one-piece slide-molded muzzle brake in plastic. Very nicely done!

This is a nice looking kit and replicates one of the more common silhouettes for Soviet armor during the late war and into the 1950s. This should provide the modeler with a simple build that will go rather quickly over a weekend.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!